Universal Records


RObert Plant-Dreamland.jpg (57089 bytes)

Robert Plant has finally returned to his old stomping grounds with one foot in the delta and one in North Africa. Dreamland has all the shading of Zep's early pomp and punch, but without the baggage. To those who say Plant can't compete with his younger years as Percy... well, you ain't been listening. Ostensibly, this is mostly a covers album, but only as much as the first Led Zeppelin album was. The band (anchored by The Cure's guitarist Porl Thompson) invents new, moody, ominous music and Plant wails and spins lyrics from Moby Grape, Arthur Crudup, Dylan, Robert Johnson, and John Lee Hooker into cloudy new shapes. Perhaps the height of the headrush is the bastardized revision of "Hey Joe." With a clearer lyrical slant than Hendrix's earlier cover, Plant and band wake up an evil wave to build this tale of a jealous murderer into a new and thoroughly menacing moment. Dreamland is extreme interpretation. It may not actually be the best album of the year, but it's my favorite, because it's the disc I need to hear when I want to fly off to another place. If you've ever been inspired by or are a fan of Zeppelin, give this a shot. You might be surprised. (

(Chris McKay/